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Pope Francis expresses confidence of Catholic-Orthodox Unity.

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Do you think the Greek Orthodox will finally return after a millennium to Unity with the Catholic Church under Pope Francis? Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis are confident the journey to full Communion is almost complete.


Vatican City, Nov 30, 2020 / 06:30 am MT (CNA).- Pope Francis told the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Monday that he is confident that Catholics and Orthodox Christians will attain full communion.

In a message to Bartholomew I on the Feast of St. Andrew, Pope Francis praised the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s efforts to promote Christian unity.

“We can thank God that relations between the Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate have grown much over the past century, even as we continue to yearn for the goal of the restoration of full communion expressed through participation at the same Eucharistic altar,” he wrote.

“Although obstacles remain, I am confident that by walking together in mutual love and pursuing theological dialogue, we will reach that goal.”

The pope sends a message each year on Nov. 30 to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who is regarded as the successor of St. Andrew the Apostle and “first among equals” in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Pope Francis recalled his recent meeting with Bartholomew I, at an international meeting for peace in Rome on Oct. 20.

“Together with the challenges posed by the current pandemic, war continues to afflict many parts of the world, while new armed conflicts emerge to steal the lives of countless men and women,” he wrote.

“Undoubtedly all initiatives taken by national and international entities aimed at promoting peace are useful and necessary, yet conflict and violence will never cease until all people reach a deeper awareness that they have a mutual responsibility as brothers and sisters.”

“In light of this, the Christian Churches, together with other religious traditions, have a primary duty to offer an example of dialogue, mutual respect and practical cooperation.”

The pope praised the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for seeking Christian unity “before the Catholic Church and other Churches engaged themselves in dialogue.”

He cited an encyclical letter issued by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1920, which said that Churches could heal divisions if they placed love “before everything else in their judgment of the others and in relation towards each other.”

The Holy See press office said Nov. 30 that a Vatican delegation had made the customary visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul on the Feast of St. Andrew.

Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, led the delegation, which included the pontifical council’s secretary, Bishop Brian Farrell, and undersecretary, Msgr. Andrea Palmieri. They were joined by Archbishop Paul F. Russell, the U.S.-born Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey.

They attended a Divine Liturgy presided over by the Bartholomew I at St. George’s Cathedral, the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. After the Divine Liturgy, Koch read the pope’s message and presented the Ecumenical Patriarch with a signed copy.

In his message, the pope said that his hope for full communion was “based on our common faith in Jesus Christ, sent by God the Father to gather all people into one body, and the cornerstone of the one and holy Church, God’s holy temple, in which all of us are living stones, each according to our own particular charism or ministry bestowed by the Holy Spirit.”

He concluded: “With these sentiments, I renew my warmest best wishes for the Feast of St. Andrew, and exchange with Your All Holiness an embrace of peace in the Lord.”

They've been saying this for decades. The pre-Vat II ecumenical movement was correctly called the "interfaith" movement, and was about improving cooperation between the denominations in a practical way, easing tensions that had developed between the groups, and presenting a united front against secular humanism and atheistic communism. Ecumenical referred to meetings within the Church fold, among Catholics, with members of other religions as observers only. The idea of each denomination compromising on its principles and beliefs in order to merge with the others into some kind of giant global FrankenChurch was dismissed by the great majority of prelates as foolish or undesirable. Popes and bishops used to say that Christian unity was a goal not realizable any time in the foreseeable future and perhaps not even until the Second Coming.

Now, of course Patriarch Bartholomew could bring himself and his followers into immediate communion with the Church by submitting themselves entirely to the Roman Pontiff and all the infallible doctrines and dogmas of Holy Mother Church. The problem is these days that most Catholics, lay or consecrated, don't do that, so I'm not sure to whom or to what the Patriarch would be joining.

In other words, full communion with the orthodox? Fuggedaboutit.

If it did happen, I'd wonder how this would work out. Questions to answer:

1.Would Francis give everyone dispensations for abortions,  contraception and up to three divorces in certain cases? The Orthodox principle of economia allows their individual pastors to grant it to their faithful.

2. Would Francis introduce economia and married priests into the RC church for unity?

3.Would the Orthodox accept RC baptisms? They don't now, and different Orthodox congregations don't accept each other's baptisms as valid either. A Greek going Russian would have to rebaptize.

4. For 1000 years, the Orthodox faithful has considered the papacy and Catholic culture repugnant and they actively resist it. Moreover, many of  them are turned off by priestly abuse even as they deny it exists in their own church. They actively recruit disgruntled Catholics into their church. How would Francis unite this group?

Mr. Mysterious:
I think reunion will eventually happen but certainly not through the actions of Bergoglio and company. It'll take a literal act of God for the two churches to be reunited.

This will just be a great deal of worthy words. The Patriarch has in Istanbul a tiny population of Phariot Greeks numbering maybe the population of a small parish. This bishop has a primacy among EO communities, but that doesn't mean too much. The Russian Orthodox have broken ties over status according to a portion of EO in the Ukraine, hitherto at least nominally under Moscow, and a few other local Churches have followed, other not, but the Patriarch of Constantinople, unless he has both political skill and an ability to choose his fights, which Bartholomew seems to lack, is not too much more than an honorary chairman.

Francis has shown some favour to the Eastern Orthodox while behaving coldly to the Greek Rite Catholics in everywhere from the Ukraine, where their Archbishop has not been made a Cardinal against the usual practice, to southern Italy, where the ancient Greek Rite community under the Albanese Eparchy now is headed by someone utterly indifferent to their liturgy from neglecting the use of Greek to appointing celibate Latin priests rather than the married Greek Rite priests as customary.

This particular bit of pandering to the Other, at Eastern Orthodox rather than jihadists, will harm some trees felled to bring bumpf no one will read unless they really have to.


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